- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 26, 2002

Admirers of science and technology may complain of motion sickness as they try to keep up with the speedy and constant stream of advances being made in these fields. Hoping to garner the interest of this inquisitive demographic, a 2-year-old cyber-stop brings visitors into this century with a selection of articles and news that should appeal to the inventor, innovator and futurist in the family.
21st Century
Site address: www.21stcentury.co.uk
Creator: Established in 1996, 21st Century New Media Ltd. is a full-service design agency based in North West London.
Creator quotable: "We created this site as a portal for science and technology news and views, appealing to both the novice and the informed, and to offer a wide range of loosely related techno-editorial [material] focusing on a futuristic theme," says Clifford White, the firm's creative director. "Our desire was to create a colorful catalog of futuristic ideas, themes and products from around the globe."
Word from the Webwise: The World Wide Web merges with the love of science-fiction concepts coming to fruition. The site boasts that it is visitors' "portal to the future," and the first-time visitor certainly will be impressed with what it has to offer.
Through a basic but sharp-looking design, 21st Century offers 12 sections: Science, Technology, People, Places, Cars, Robotics, Games, Fashion, Artists, Music, Humour and Masters, each containing a list of informative items or diversions.
Articles highlighting everything from nanotechnology to wearable computers to numerous types of functioning robots can be found among the sections. Some are culled from books, some from other sites, and some are composed by free-lance writers, but all contain links to continue the knowledge stream.
I especially enjoyed Cars, with its encyclopedic presentation of more than 100 concept and working vehicles, and People, which offers 33 concise biographies on luminaries such as Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein and Thomas Kuhn.
Additionally, it was nice to see a section on Artists presenting some amazing masterpieces with words by the visionaries who created them. Humour offers such silliness as a Seussian translation of "Star Trek," some computer haikus and what would happen if Microsoft made TV dinners.
The problem with the site comes with the return visit. I never seemed to find anything new, just the same packets of information with section highlights rotated on the front page. A new report should be put up every day or at least once a week, but that isn't the case.
I also started to feel as though the site was just a big promotion for 21st Century New Media. A handy "see our awards and reviews" link was flaunted at the top and bottom of every page, and interviews with some of its Web clients, including author Patrick Tilley and speaker Jonathan Gabay, were found in the People section.
Overall, I wish 21st Century New Media would spend less time touting its merits and more time working on fresh content in this potentially amazing effort.
Ease of use: The site only requires the Macromedia Flash plug-in to enjoy the games. Other than that, all current versions of browsers should easily display pages, but the absence of a search function or site map will make life difficult for those seeking specific information.
Don't miss: I was really impressed with the diverse offerings found in the Games section. Thirteen challenges are available, ranging from classics such as Pong, Pac Man and Space Invaders to a memory game using the mugs of popular "Star Trek" characters, to a realistic shooter involving terminating crooks in a 3-D environment.
Elements on the horizon: No comment from 21st Century New Media, but I hope new reports are in the future. I would hate to see such a promising effort go to waste.
Comprehension level: Visitors high school age and older will find a variety of items to help with a report or deliver a technology or science fix.
Overall grade: B-
Remember: The information on the Internet is constantly changing. Please verify the advice on the sites before you act to be sure it's accurate and updated. Health sites, for example, should be discussed with your own physician.

Have a cool site for the
science or technology fan? Write to Joseph Szadkowski at Webwise, The Washington Times, 3600 New York Ave. NE, Washington, D.C. 20002; call 202/636-3016; or send an e-mail message (jszadkowski@washingtontimes.com).

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